And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. Matthew 17:24-27
Again we see the religious leaders “testing” Jesus to see what he will do, we seen this throughout the gospels, the religious leaders trying to trap Christ in doing something morally wrong. Obviously they misunderstood that Jesus is God in the flesh, they were actually testing God , and so their continual attempts failed time and time again.
They asked Peter “Does your Master (Jesus) pay the two drachmas or tribute” this was a temple tax that all Jews were required to pay to support the temple, suppor the priests and buy sacrifices, ect. The religious leaders were hoping Jesus would refuse to pay, so they could bring charges against him. As Jesus said to Peter “So that we should not offend them” Christ paid the tax
Now a few things were revealed during this moment, first Jesus asked Peter “Do Kings collect money from their own family or from others”? Peter answered from others, so Jesus said “The sons are exempt” but The Lord paid it anyway not to offend anyone. However Jesus was revealing here, that since they are Children of God, they are exempt from the tax. Remember the Temple belongs to God, this was His sacred space before Christ instituted the New Covenant, Jesus was demonstrating they are now Children of God through Christ.
Another thing we see here is the miracle, Christ and his disciples didn’t have any money at the time, so he advised Peter to go fishing, and Christ said the first fish you catch will have the money you need in it. By faith Peter obeyed Christ and God provided financially for the disciples. We need to remember this, that God is our provider, when there seems to be no way, God will make a way if we are obedient. Finding money in fish sounds like a bad financial plan, but Peter was faithful to Christ and He provided.
Even though Jesus should never pay a tax for The Temple built essentially for him, Christ did it anyway, to not offend or to be “good citizens” As Christians we are to be the Salt and Light (Matthew 5) we are to obey our government as long as it doesn’t contradict the Law of God (Romans 13) As Jesus declared “We are the Children of God” though Christ , Amen